The Biggest and Boldest Makeup Trends of 2021, According to Sir John


What are your makeup aspirations for 2021? What’s on the mood board? For celebrity makeup artist Sir John—you’ve seen his work on both Beyoncé and Barbie—he finds inspiration on Instagram. “I just save them all [his favorite IG posts] to the backend, and that’s kind of the mood board at the moment,” he explains. His hope for our mood boards? “Just seeing a full look, seeing a lip and an eye,” he says. To help us get started on all our best beauty looks of 2021, SJ broke down some of the biggest trends for the new year. For one, he wants you to try “tightlining” and put down the contour brush. Below, Sir John’s definitive guide for the biggest makeup trends of 2021. Happy creating!

If 2020 did teach us anything, it was that skincare should be priority one, and doing a mask at 2 p.m. on a Wednesday is totally acceptable, if not necessary. “I think in terms of makeup trends, what will be huge is more approach to skin,” SJ explains.“There’s going to be an ease and maneuverability around owning your skin and loving the skin that you have and not having to lacquer it from forehead to chin—not having the baking and the contouring and so many different dramatic ways to change oneself.”

Masks don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, making it the perfect time to invest in a gorgeous eye look. “I do believe that eyes will be big,” says SJ. “People are still going to love lashes, still going to love brows, and they’re always going to be a feature. They were a feature 2,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, and they’re going to be a feature in 2088.”

Sir John predicts the move will be more lip stains in 2021. “If no other time, no other year, to find out if these claims of long-wear or our lip stains really work,” explains SJ. “The goal now is to find out how long this lip will anchor to my mouth without drying my lips out?” SJ recommends doing a bit of self-discovery to find the perfect long-wear lipstick for you. The one test your lippie must pass, he says, is the ability to hydrate.

“If you’re wearing a super matte and you don’t want your lip texture to change, use eye cream over lip balm,” he explains. “An eye cream is going to be a great way to hydrate your lips. The skin of your eyes and the skin of your lips is so thin; it’s almost transparent.”

“Tightlining is when you lift up your lash line slightly and line that area with a waterproof black pencil, and so that right underneath your lashes,” explains SJ. “What that does is it makes all of your lashes extremely dense, so black and thick from the root, and it’s really almost like an optical illusion.” The best part of the beauty trick is that no one knows that they see a liner, but it gives you a dazzling eye-line.

Sir John says aggressive forms of contouring are out. What’s in? “I think sculpting is the 2.0 of where we need to go,” he adds. “Invisible sculpting, softer appearances when it comes to the structure of our face, but all of these hard lines, or I like to call them VCLs, visible counter lines, need to go or need to stay in 2020.” Harsh lines were so 2020.

“A few products we should add to our arsenal would be the NARS eyeshadow primer, the invisible eye shadow primer by NARS, for sure,” says SJ. “Hands down, it’s the best one I’ve ever worked with.”

He also suggests L’Oreal Mega Air Volume Mascara. “There’s no comparison, best mascara in the game right now, in terms of getting the most beautiful, fluffy, dense bit of lashes around,” says SJ.

Regarding skincare, SJ recommends the Tata Harper Resurfacing Peel and Supergoop’s SPF 40, the latter of which he uses as a primer because of its invisibility. He likes that the peel is not aggressive (aka won’t cause major irritation) but increases cell turnover, meaning out with the bad (debris of 2020) and in with the good (supple gorgeous skin in 2021).

His last recommendation is L’Oreal Paris Night Serum Retinol. “The nighttime retinol would be my favorite,” he says. “Also, the nighttime glycolic, which is farmer-grade glycolic acid.”

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